part time jobs

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Part-time work in Germany

Of part-time work (colloquially also part-time ) is when employees work regularly shorter than comparable full-time workers. As a rule, the weekly working hours - in the case of irregular working hours the annual working hours - of employees of the same company with the same type of employment relationship and the same or a similar activity are compared . If there are no comparable employees in the company, an applicable collective agreement or collective agreement applies as a benchmark , otherwise the full working hours customary in the industry (cf. for German labor law: Section 2 Part-time and Temporary Employment Act ). The Federal Statistical Office, on the other hand, speaks of part-time work when “less than 21 hours of normal weekly working hours are the main job”.

Part-time work comes about through a corresponding agreement between employer and employee. In Germany, under certain conditions, there is a legal right to a reduction in working hours in the existing employment relationship according to Section 8 Part-Time and Temporary Employment Act . Under the labor law of some states, it must be granted to mothers on parental leave if they wish.

Part-time work is tending to increase in industrialized countries. This can be seen relatively clearly in Switzerland , where the proportion of employees has increased from 27 percent of employees to 36 percent since the 1990s.



Part-time work can be organized in different ways:

  • Fixed working hours can be agreed, but these do not make up the full working hours.
  • Flexible work plans can be created depending on the workload. In Germany, the minimum number of hours per week and assignment must be specified for this so-called work on demand , otherwise the employer must use the work for ten hours per week, whereby the working time per assignment must not be less than three hours. The employee is only obliged to work if he has been notified of the assignment at least four days before the planned assignment.
  • On all working days of the week, work is carried out to a reduced extent compared to normal working hours.
  • The number of working days is reduced, but work is carried out on the days in question to the extent of a normal employment relationship.

Part-time (continued) employment can be agreed for a limited period (e.g. as part-time parental leave ) or for an unlimited period.


A distinction is also made between part -time close to full-time and part-time away from full-time , depending on the amount of time they work .

Employment Law

Right to reduction in working hours, prohibition of discrimination

On the basis of the part-time directive 97/81 / EC of December 15, 1997, legal regulations were introduced across Europe which prohibit the discrimination of part-time workers and (to varying degrees) justify the right of employees to reduce their working hours.

In Germany, this directive, according to a previous related provision in the Employment Act (which, however, only to the case-law already existing prohibition of discrimination related) with the August 7, 1972 part-time and temporary employment law was (TzBfG) with effect from 1 January 2001 implemented . According to § 4 TzBfG, part-time employees basically have the same rights under labor law as full-time employees. After § 8 TzBfG workers have in companies with more than 15 employees at least six months employment one before the labor court enforceable right to reduction of working hours and a certain distribution of working hours to a week if operational reasons do not preclude, for example if the reduction of working does not significantly impair the organization, workflow or safety in the company or cause disproportionate costs. According to § 6 TzBfG, this also applies to managers. The reasons for rejection can be determined in accordance with Section 8 TzBfG by means of a collective agreement .

The rules for parent time after § 15 Bundeselterngeld- and Elternzeitgesetz (BEEG) establish a claim to a limited part of the time. Severely disabled people are entitled to part-time employment if the shorter working hours are necessary due to the type or severity of the disability ( Section 164 (5) sentence 3 SGB IX).

If there are new or vacant positions to be filled, priority must be given to part-time employees who have expressed a wish to extend their working hours in accordance with ( § 9 TzBfG)

Bridge part-time

Symbol of the Federal Ministry of Labor

The right to return from permanent part-time to full-time work was agreed in the coalition agreement of February 7, 2018 . The so-called bridge part-time work was introduced on January 1, 2019 through the law on the further development of part-time law - introduction of part-time bridge work.

The Part-Time and Temporary Employment Act (TzBfG) now includes the right to time-limited part-time so that you can return to your previous working hours after the part-time phase if

  • the employer usually has more than 45 employees
  • the employment relationship has existed for more than six months
  • will not significantly impair the operational organization, workflows or operational safety.
  • you apply in writing at least three months before the start of the shortening to reduce your full-time or part-time work for 12 to 60 months.

No reason is asked for. Employers with 46 to 200 employees only have to grant one part-time bridge for every 15 employees or part thereof.

According to the Ifo Institute for Economic Research , in the first six months since the law came into force, claims for part-time bridge work were asserted in one third of all companies. In the other companies, part-time working on the bridge was not an issue.

Collective agreements

Collective bargaining employees in the German metal and electrical industry have been entitled to a “reduced full-time” period of up to 28 hours per week without giving reasons. It must be requested six months before it begins and can be taken for a period of six to 24 months; at the end of this period, the normal full-time will apply again, unless a new application is made for a “reduced full-time”.

Public service

Civil servants and employees in the public service are entitled to temporary part-time work to care for children, adolescents or those in need of care: According to Section 11 (1) TVöD (similar to Section 15b (1) BAT) stipulates: “Employees should request a lower are agreed as the contractually stipulated working hours if they a) at least one child under the age of 18 or b) actually look after or care for another relative in need of care according to a medical opinion and do not conflict with urgent business or operational issues. Part-time employment in accordance with sentence 1 is limited to a period of up to five years upon request. It can be extended; the application must be submitted no later than six months before the agreed part-time employment expires. When organizing the working hours, the employer has to take into account the special personal situation of the employee according to sentence 1 within the scope of the official or operational possibilities. "

According to the principle of Section 91 (2) sentence 1 BBG , civil servants who work part-time in Germany are only allowed to work outside of their service to the extent permitted for civil servants who work full-time. In the case of part-time employment for family reasons ( Section 92 BBG), “only those secondary activities that do not conflict with the purpose of the exemption may be approved”. Not to run counter to the purpose of caring for children or relatives in need of care means that the care must not be impaired due to the amount of time involved in secondary employment. Part-time employees in the public service receive a performance remuneration in (at least) the amount that corresponds proportionally to their working hours, unless otherwise stipulated in the collective agreement (Section 24 (2) TVöD). Times of part- time employment are taken into account in the same way as those of full-time employment when moving up the experience levels of the basic salary . For the acquisition of relevant professional experience, it does not matter whether a previous employment is carried out part-time or full-time; if several activities were carried out side by side, the main occupation is important. Despite the prohibition of discrimination, part-time employees in the public sector experience career disadvantages.

Discrimination against part-time workers can represent indirect gender-specific discrimination, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in 2008. It declared a pension deduction for periods of part-time employment of civil servants - i.e. the loss of entitlements that went beyond a proportionate reduction for part-time work - as inadmissible. The court explained the reasons:

"A link to gender can therefore also exist if a gender-neutral regulation predominantly affects women and this is due to natural or social differences between the sexes".

Meaning and motives

According to surveys by the Federal Statistical Office in Germany in 1999, 32.5 million employees worked part-time (= 19.4%). Despite an increase in the proportion of men working part-time, 87% of all part-time workers were still women. In the old federal states, 65% of the main reasons for part-time employment were family or personal circumstances (new federal states: 21%). (. The results of the 2002 microcensus see . Nine out of ten part-time employees in Germany are women Federal Statistical Office , March 24, 2003 filed by the original on 26 September 2003 ; accessed on 16 June 2013 . )

In 2012 women in Germany worked part-time much more often (45%) than the EU average. Only in the Netherlands did women work part-time much more often, at 76%. It is true that women who work part-time usually do so at their own request in the West, while less than half of them in the East. According to the data report of the Federal Statistical Office from 1997, almost half (47%) of West German women agreed with traditional role models when they said “that it would be best for all those involved if the man is fully employed and the woman takes care of the household and the children” to; In a survey from 2017, however, agreement with this statement was only 25% of all respondents.

Austria ranks third in the EU in terms of part-time women. Every second young woman would like to be a housewife if her partner ensured her livelihood.

In Switzerland, more than half of employed women, but only around one in seven men, work part-time. The person with the lower wage tends to reduce their workload.

Benefits of part-time work

  • Working less fits the downshifting lifestyle (“voluntary simplicity”).
  • There is enough time for other activities (such as childcare, hobbies , household chores, training and further education, doctoral thesis; political commitment; voluntary work ; see also: family part-time ).
  • The employer can divide the employees as required by the company. This particularly applies to part-time work in the form of on- call work (or KAPOVAZ ).
  • There can be tax advantages in not working as much (due to tax progression , half a gross salary remains more than half a net salary).
  • By dividing a job among several people ( job sharing ), more people get the opportunity to prove themselves.
  • Employees who are not fully resilient for health reasons remain in the employment relationship.
  • Smooth transition into retirement, see also: Partial retirement .
  • Better employee performance through more relaxation .
  • Part-time work makes it easier to take care of housework and family work after the birth of a child and to continue to work or to get back to work after a baby break and thus reconcile family and work .

Disadvantages of part-time work

  • Higher ancillary wage costs and investments in further training as well as possibly higher coordination effort on the part of the employer.
  • Financial losses due to proportionately lower performance pay , problems with part-time forms with relatively short notice periods.
  • Possible career barriers among employees.
  • For unlimited part-time i. A. no right of return to a full-time position; informally also referred to as “part-time trap”.
  • Usually only inadequate social security for old age and absence.
  • From a societal perspective, a labor market segregation between full-time and part-time work can arise or be maintained.

Other aspects

Mostly women work part-time. While 69% of mothers with minor children in Germany work part-time, only 5% of men with minor children do so. Of the women without underage children, 36% work part-time, but only 9% of men without underage children. According to critics, part-time work thus solidifies classic role behavior and the creation of women's jobs with less social prestige.

Part-time work is comparatively rare in management ( see also: presence culture ). Social scientists emphasize that a greater spread of “part-time managers” could “increase the acceptance of part-time men at all company levels and promote a more even distribution of management positions and working hours for both genders”.

In the public discussion about part-time work in management positions, two extreme perspectives dominate: that part-time work and management positions are in principle mutually exclusive, or that part-time work is in principle possible in all functions. At the same time, means are being developed to support companies in generally reviewing the suitability of positions for part-time filling.

A legal right to temporary part-time work with the right to return, as has been realized in the Netherlands in particular, is partly seen in politics as a sensible measure to prevent poverty in old age , whereas business representatives speak of the unnecessary provision of jobs ( see also: Reform efforts to German Part-time and Temporary Employment Act ).

The potential to improve the situation on the labor market in part-time offers has so far received little attention. However, the promotion of part-time work is beginning to be recognized as a social necessity. In the statistics of Germany , however, the number of jobs is always given and not the number of hours worked. The true extent of underemployment is inadequately presented by omission in reporting , because involuntary part-time employment is hardly mentioned there.

Acquisition of pension rights

In social insurance, part-time work sometimes results in lower coverage.

In Germany, when acquiring statutory pension entitlements, earnings points are earned in relation to earnings. This means that a person who earns exactly as much full-time as the average contributor receives one earnings point per year for full-time work and half a earnings point per year for 50% part-time. However, full waiting times are acquired. (When officials the situation is similar: In part-time worked years are taken into account pro rata by the pension ; additional intended pension abatement is not allowed.) During the maternity leave causes the exercise of part-time work to increase the pension rights on the acquired for children considering the pension entitlements addition (and up to a maximum of 100% of the assessment ceiling). In the case of partial retirement , the pension insurance contributions were increased (up to a maximum of 90% of the contribution assessment limit), so that more pension entitlements were acquired than would correspond to the percentage.

Part-time to cushion operational fluctuations in orders

Part-time is also used to cushion order fluctuations. The most common model for this in Germany is short-time work .

Alternatively, the free working time was used in a pilot project for charitable work. In the “Part-Time Plus” model, which was carried out in Dresden from 2002 to 2004 by the District Craftsman’s Association , the Environment Center and the Federal Employment Agency with 200 employees from 38 companies in 48 associations, when the order situation declined, workers from handicraft businesses worked shortened in their company and worked the remaining working hours for non-profit associations of your choice. The employment agency financed the wages for the time in the clubs and for coordinating the project.

Situation in Switzerland

In Switzerland Part-time work is a very common form of work, but also for women: Almost three-fifths of employed women and 14% of working men work part time. For women, the motives for part-time work are primarily family-related; for men, other motives besides the family (time for hobbies, politics, further education) are of equal value.

There are hardly any special statutory provisions for part-time work in Switzerland. In terms of employment conditions, notice periods, sick pay, etc., it is treated in the same way as full-time work by law. If part-time employees are systematically employed in a company with poorer working conditions than full-time employees, there is indirect discrimination under the Equal Opportunities Act because the vast majority of part- time workers are women. With the old-age provision in the 2nd pillar (pension fund), part-time workers are less protected because they do not always achieve the minimum annual wage required for mandatory insurance and the mandatory insured wage (amount above the so-called coordination deduction) is proportionally lower.

Although part-time work for companies is associated with opportunities in terms of operational flexibility or attractiveness on the labor market and it can be shown that part-time workers are often superior to full-time workers in terms of performance and motivation, part-time work is still not an equivalent form of work and the potential of the various part-time models is still not recognized enough .

Part-time work is of great importance for employees in connection with the compatibility of family and work and in general in the effort to achieve a balance between areas of life. However, to this day part-time work is often associated with fewer opportunities for professional development and lower job security.

Efforts to promote part-time work in Switzerland therefore focus on status- and gender-neutral models. On the one hand, this means that part-time work with suitable models (e.g. job sharing ) should also be made possible in management positions. On the other hand, the proportion of men among part-time workers is to be increased, making part-time work a form of work for both genders. Instruments such as the part-time tool box from the State Chancellery of the Canton of Bern enable companies to check full-time positions for their part-time potential.

Situation in Austria

In Austria part-time work is regulated in the Working Hours Act (Section 19d) .

In 2016, 1,211,300 people were employed part-time in Austria , making the part-time rate 28.7%. The part-time quota for the employed was 28.9%.

An annual average of 47.7% of women worked part-time in 2016, while the proportion of part-time men was 11.8%.

Situation in other states

In France , the law on the protection of work ( Loi de sécurisation de l'emploi ) of June 14, 2013 set the minimum weekly working time to 24 hours or the corresponding monthly number of hours. The regulation came into force for all employment contracts concluded after July 1, 2014, and transition regulations applied to employment contracts concluded earlier on January 1, 2016.

Statistical data

Share of full-time and part-time employees in Germany in 2017

Total employed
  • of which full-time employees: 26,641,000 (71.2% of all employed persons)
    • of which men: 17,318,000
    • of which women: 9,324,000
  • of which part-time employees: 10,754,000 (28.8% of all employed persons)
    • of which men: 2,170,000
    • of which women: 8,583,000

According to this, 88.86% of all employed men work full-time, while 47.93% of all employed women work part-time.

Actual share of full-time and part-time employees in Germany in 2015

The "Arbeitszeitreport 2016" provides information about the actual working hours in Germany - in contrast to the general employment contract conditions.

Comparison of the proportions of part-time and full-time
Working time report 2016 Microcensus 2017
Part time Full time Part time Full time
Men 7% 93% 11.14% 88.86%
Women 42% 58% 47.93% 52.07%
All in all 23% 77% 28.8% 71.2%

Share of full-time and part-time employees in Germany in 2007

Total employees
  • of which full-time employees: 23,452,000
    • of which men: 15,008,000
    • thereof women: 8,444,000
  • of which part-time employees: 11,839,000
    • of which men: 2,998,000
    • thereof women: 8,841,000

Source: Calculation by the Institute for Employment Research of the Federal Employment Agency, Nuremberg

In Germany, women have particularly short weekly working hours compared to other European countries, often less than 20 or 15 hours.

Share of part-time employees in employment in 1989

  • 33% Netherlands
  • 26% Norway
  • 24% Denmark
  • 24% Sweden
  • 22% UK
  • 20% USA
  • 18% Japan
  • 13% Federal Republic of Germany
  • 12% France
  • 10% Belgium
  • 7% Austria
  • 6% Italy
  • 5% Spain

Source: Association of German Banks

Share of part-time employees in employment in a European comparison

country 2007 2018 Q3
Men Women Men Women
European UnionEuropean Union EU-27 6.9% 30.7% 8.5% 31.0%
Euro zone (EA-13 or Euro-13) 6.9% 34.8%
BelgiumBelgium Belgium 7.1% 40.5% 10.0% 41.3%
BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 1.1% 1.9% 1.7% 2.1%
Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 1.7% 7.9% 2.7% 10.8%
DenmarkDenmark Denmark 12.5% 35.8% 14.6% 33.4%
GermanyGermany Germany 8.5% 45.3% 9.5% 46.2%
EstoniaEstonia Estonia 3.8% 10.6% 6.9% 14.1%
IrelandIreland Ireland 6.5% 31.9% 10.5% 29.8%
GreeceGreece Greece 2.5% 9.9% 5.8% 12.4%
SpainSpain Spain 3.9% 22.7% 6.3% 22.6%
FranceFrance France 5.5% 30.2% 7.6% 28.2%
ItalyItaly Italy 4.6% 26.8% 7.8% 31.8%
Cyprus RepublicRepublic of Cyprus Cyprus 3.0% 10.4% 6.6% 13.2%
LatviaLatvia Latvia 4.4% 6.9% 4.9% 9.6%
LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania 6.5% 9.7% 5.2% 9.1%
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg 2.6% 37.1% 6.2% 30.8%
HungaryHungary Hungary 2.5% 5.5% 2.6% 6.6%
MaltaMalta Malta 4.0% 24.9% 6.4% 23.4%
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 22.5% 74.8% 27.4% 75.1%
AustriaAustria Austria 6.2% 40.7% 9.3% 46.0%
PolandPoland Poland 5.8% 11.7% 3.6% 9.6%
PortugalPortugal Portugal 4.7% 13.6% 5.5% 10.0%
RomaniaRomania Romania 8.3% 8.9% 5.9% 6.8%
SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia 6.5% 10.0% 5.4% 13.3%
SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 1.0% 4.3% 3.1% 6.9%
FinlandFinland Finland 8.3% 18.8% 9.3% 19.1%
SwedenSweden Sweden 10.5% 39.5% 12.6% 32.1%
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 9.4% 41.6% 10.9% 39.1%
NorwayNorway Norway 12.8% 43.6% 14.0% 37.0%
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 10.8% 58.5% 16.3% 60.4%

Source: Eurostat

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Part-time work  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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